The Plan Has Been Modified.
'Art Courtesy of Dreadman'
Madness Day 2021 has came and went - with it, a metric shit-ton of animations have come out. So much so to where it isn't really feasible for me to cover all of them, so I'll just be picking out the ones that caught my eye above all the others, for better and for worse. Without further delay, we shall begin -
I am yet again floored by the length and complexity of the Black Berserk series, and everybody on-board the team should be quite proud that they've managed to get something this big out for the second year in a row. I reviewed the first episode of this series during my last Madness Day review, and I gotta say that almost all of my praise and critique still applies to the latest entry in the series. The scale of some of the action scenes here are truly phenomenal, compositions changed every few shots and the team managed to pull off scenes I seriously didn't see coming. Seriously, the sheer amount of details with all the different soldier/unit variations, ground vehicles, mechs, airships - It is truly a spectacle for someone like me who grew up as a fan of Mechwarrior and Battletech. Just like last year, the only point of contention is the addition of voice acting - but not in the way you'd first assume. A lot of the voices are delivered fine, with the dialogue itself being passable - It's more just a personal disconnect I have when seeing madness cartoons with fully voices protagonists. I definitely feel that at this point it is more of a sense of taste, because I'm not sure it could be managed much better than what the team ended up with here. This series deserves far more attention and recognition than it currently gets, that's for sure. Congrats to the Black Berserk team for the newest entry in the series, you continue to have my attention.
For this one, I do have to mention that I was involved on the development side of things as a helping hand - but the whole of the animation, composition, narrative, and basically everything was handled by Darksignal himself. I have vague recollections of seeing one of his works many years ago when I first took a dive into Madness community content, and I must say that this submission was a very progressive step into a new and unique direction. The style of the film has been coined as "Cinemadness" by Darksignal, and I must say that the compositions of the film definitely justify such a title. The unique animation style with 2.5D sprites allows for complex camera angles and choreography which would be functionally impossible to do with the classic side-scrolling Madness format we are all used to. While some of the graphics themselves lack shading or detail in spots, the overall presentation is so great that I almost don't care. Even though it is on the shorter side, this is a pretty damn good submission I'd highly recommend you to check out - hopefully the finale for subjugation will come sooner rather than later.
Continuing on from his fantastic tack record, @Diotoons continues on with another solid addition to his 'Killroy Madness' series - even after it seemed the previous installment would be the last. Although it caught me off-guard, I must say that the continual refinement of his craft appears to shine through - the compositions and choreography are as fantastic as ever. There's not really any aspects about this movie that are weak enough for me to point out, but perhaps later additions to this series could step into a new, more experimental direction? Perhaps move away from the secret-history style into something that allows more flexibility.
As a sort of pseudo-followup / offshoot of the White Hank Series, we got Cringehank here to keep us busy until Kryy figures out where he put his computer. While wholly satirical in nature, this submission feels like if one of those really old shitty madness fan cartoons was given a budget far higher than would ever be considered reasonable. The result is a very chaotic and fittingly zany tone that holds true throughout the entire runtime of the movie. Each of the collab members helps to bring something interesting to the table, whether that's with some sharp choreography, unit types, set pieces, etc. While the project is overall incredibly enjoyable, I still find myself perplexed at the choice to make the main character sonic the hedgehog, yet never really take advantage of that premise besides a couple of scenes out of the entire movie. I think I only recall one scene where 'Cringehank' is hurt and drops rings, but no power-ups from the original series are used, nor are any enemies or environments inspired by the games. If you are going to go batshit and make a movie about Sonic In Madness, at that point you should just take the gloves off and go all-in with the possibilities instead of gently dipping a toe into what could be. Other than that, the collab itself is a very worthy submission and a great surprise hit for MD 2021.
Prov22 has been doing a great job at disappointing me year-after-year, and this Madness Day is no exception. Yet again, his submission is a run-of-the-mill side scrolling grey-room clearing movie with no surprises, no twists, and no new takes on the formula. I really don't want to bust his balls, but after he showed such promise with his earlier movies it is incredibly frustrating to see him degrade into something so painfully mundane. His animation skill has noticeably improved, but that means absolutely nothing if there are no unique or standout elements whatsoever. I don't know what's gotten into Prov's head, but he seriously needs to go back to his more unique endeavors and craft some new elements to throw into the pot, else each new submission of his just paints another shade of grey onto his reputation.
A surprise short by Kirxee, acting as a prequel to his 'Madness Cellification' Collab from a few years back. As a small solo, the submission is overall very enjoyable and has enough good choreography to keep your attention. Narratively, it also helps tie up a lose end from his original collab, which is more appreciable than dragging it out further down the line. The art assets can be rough in spots and a few frames can be funky, but this is a fairly good submission that earns its place in the roster.
7.5/10 - (4/10 with the god-awful interlacing and ghosting issues)
The first project I've seen from 5LEO5, and what an entrance it is. One very serious problem I have is with the ENTIRE movie, and that's the awful ghosting/interlacing issue with the footage. I have no idea how 5LEO5 didn't think this was a problem, but Jesus it makes some of the scenes obnoxious to watch. That's a big shame, because this submission actually has some pretty good looking scenes and some neat backgrounds, but they are hard to appreciate when there's a shit-ton of ghosting going on with literally anything that moves or when the camera pans around. The animation itself is actually quite good, although it suffers from being far too fast in places, so much so to where it can be hard to keep track of more precise movements - this is something that is also not helped by the ghosting. The pacing can be kind of jumpy in places as well, but I can tell a lot of heart went into making this so I can't really bring myself to be too harsh. The submission overall is quite enjoyable but leaves enough room for improvement to where this project's successor is going to be something I keep my eyes on, unless it still has that awful interlacing issue.
I'm not entirely familiar with the legacy of this movie series, but I an entirely certain that this is a worthwhile watch for this Madness Day. Kryy knocks it out of the park with his melee choreography as always, with the SFX work by Datsalty helping to extenuate the brutality. The addition of the 'Mr. Extile' character helps to round out some neat powers for the film's protagonist, and provide a phenomenal final battle with the infamous Bill Barsch. Kryy has nailed making his own thematic style for Madness flicks, and it is safe to say that as of now he's one of the best in the entire fandom. An unexpected entry, but one I'm more than happy to recommend.
Our favorite yellow bastard Gabriel Barsch manages to give us another characterful submission for this Madness Day, with some pretty enjoyable results. As always, the comedic timing and action choreography are top-notch - with the whole movie being a joy to see. Not much else I can add, other than I think the addition of the 'Dissenter' art style clashes very harshly with Gabriel's style and tone. The gritty, messy character sprites don't blend well with such a bouncy and cartoonish world - but this problem isn't exclusive to his movie in particular. I'm not particularly a fan of 'comedy' focused animation, but I can still respect the final product. If you liked Gabe's previous movies, you'll like this one just as much.
This is a submission made by a fellow who I reviewed last MD, specifically his movie "Madness Incursion". At the time I mentioned that although the project was incredibly messy, it had a lot of little details and additions that made it clear a lot of heart was put into it, and that I was looking forward to what he'd work on next. It seems my expectations have been met, as Project Creber is a fantastic improvement from his previous work, and a healthy step in the right direction. Plenty of custom assets, characters, and environments that help round out a pretty solid madness flick. I'm especially a fan of the main character's gimmick of being able to make clones of himself, which allows for some pretty creative choreography. The animation can be a tad stiff at times, but the overall film is very well crafted and I can tell Potke gave this his all. Also, the custom track for this movie was pretty damn good, I got some prime Djjaner flashbacks at points.
This submission seriously caught me off guard, but in a way I seriously enjoyed. What started off looking like a pretty rough but fun idea turned into something that's pretty bold and only held back by the fidelity. The premise of going between different events and timelines in the Madness Universe is ripe with incredibly fun opportunities, yet it feels as if this movie only scratches the surface of what could be done with the idea alone. The texture work is incredibly detailed, but rooms tend to be incredibly bland with too little in each room to help them 'pop'. For what we have here, it's a respectable submission that unfortunately doesn't have the 3D talent to completely pull off the environments it wants. I think further iterations of this idea will bring very fruitful results.
An incredibly vibrant submission that is able to accomplish its style with pretty good fidelity, and enjoyable action. Plenty of the runtime is dedicated to building a plot which moves along about how you would expect - but it doesn't drag the movie down at all and is well executed enough to where I don't mind the conversation scenes much. The dialogue could be trimmed down however, for future installments that'd definitely help the flow a tad. As for the animation, it is overall very well done with plenty of colorful effects and kills. The car chase scene was a particular favorite of mine, with some really fun camera angles sprinkled in to help spice things up. I'd say Zhou's team did a fantastic job overall and this flick is more than worth the price of admission.
As a companion-piece to Rush City, Tuvster hops into the fray with some excellent animation and choreography for his solo project. Like 'Rush City', the movie is pretty stylized in your typical exaggerated retro flare, which helps give the film character without feeling tacked on. I'm especially fond of the updated Soldat and ATP sprites, both of which have greatly improved fidelity without losing their unique looks. I think I prefer this one over 'Rush City', as it has a shorter runtime with about as much meat on the bone. Nothing really jumps to my mind when it comes to any major issues, this is just a really enjoyable flick overall and I very highly recommend a viewing.
A baffling entry, and for all the wrong reasons. Even though this was simply a short teaser for an album, it was submitted as an animation for MD 2021 even though it was released well before that date. While that's just a little off, the content of the submission itself is incredibly questionable, as the film's runtime of one minute and 35 seconds only has 32 seconds of animation, the rest being taken up by random music samples with waveform audio in the background. I shouldn't have to mention that as an ANIMATION submission, having barely a third of your entry being animation is in incredibly poor taste. Furthermore, the 3D animation leaves a lot to be desired - while the one room this movie takes place in has a good amount of detail, the characters and animation are very poor. Characters move incredibly stiffly as if they are locked onto treadmills, and 'snap' in and out of movements with no sense of momentum or weight. One particular instance of this is at 30-seconds in, where the soldat simply freezes in-place until he is shot - rather than having any sort of idle animation in-between the action. With how short the animation is, I would at least expect what little we see to be of good quality. An incredibly poor showing that feels incredibly low-effort, and only acts to gatekeep better projects that should have taken its place.
A very short but incredibly stylish yet rough frame-by-frame submission that unfortunately stops just as it starts to pick up the pace. The shot-composition is quite good, and the action is very impactful but woefully short. Not much else to say, other than I hope this gets expanded upon in the future with a proper-length submission next Madness Day. As-is, the length and lack of a payoff hurts the delivery.
Another 3D submission this year, and with some pretty fun ideas going for it. While very well animated, there is a very distinct lack of blood and gore going on here, where people will have their heads blown open with no visible blood or bullet-holes on their caved-in faces. Besides that questionable design decision, the movie has a lot of fun with some kills and compositions. This feels like a healthy prototype for a more fleshed-out future installment, and I must say that I'll be keeping my eye on Fragccc's projects.
A very well stylized and generally low-action affair that seems to be the most popular submission this year, although I have mixed feelings on it. The aesthetic itself is quite nice, and I think the sort of stop-motion/claymation hybrid look was executed quite well. However, I'm not really a fan of overly cutesy shit and that's kind of all you're gonna get here. For what it's worth, I think this sort of style can be a pretty good jumping-board into more interesting projects, but it didn't really tickle my fancy.
Another solo project from a 'lad I've never heard of, but after watching this I'm very glad I found him. The action can be a tad slow, but the actual combat choreography and movement is good. There's a couple fun kills and some fun background elements thrown in to help round-out a solid submission for MD 2021 - a good balance between originality and familiarity of the Madness formula. I'm incredibly curious as to where the next entry in this series will lead, and am hopeful for the future.
I've been noticing more of these fan-remakes of classic Madness Toons, and I can't say I mind if this is the going to be setting the bar for quality. Incredible presentation and choreography, furthermore I was very impressed by the creative liberties taken to the action sequences and soundtrack. This has some pretty good callbacks to the original while still adding enough new material to justify itself. Injects some modern flare with very good results, overall this turned out a lot better than I would have expected. In addition, the extended Hank vs. Jesus duel was incredibly enjoyable and really helped round-out this solid addition to Madness Day 2021. There is some inconsistency with art in spots, but again the overall project is so well done to where that is a very minor complaint.
- And hot-damn, just barely dodged the 20-image limit on news posts. My overall thoughts on this Madness Day are incredibly positive, especially since I was sincerely expecting it to be flooded with a bunch of trashy 'Friday Night Funkin' crap that'd only act to further chip away at the community's reputation. I'm glad plenty of new creators are coming in and adding their own flavors to the pot with solo projects and suchlike, hopefully this trend continues before god decides we've had enough fun around here.
'Till then, I'll keep you guys updated on Maxification 2 as I get closer to the finish-line - stay safe in the meantime.
(P.S. Newgrounds keeps obliterating the formatting on this post for some reason, I'll try to shore-up the damage.)